There is no excuse for a team to take 2 weeks off before a game that decides the Division and look as horrible as we did today. I saw a team that was not mentally prepared to play and that looked like they hadn't practiced a football snap in 2 weeks. The offense looked bad, special teams was bad, and the defense is regressing further when they should begin improving after an off week to work on fundamentals. Thankfully our guys woke up in the 4th quarter to pull this game out at home 31-28.
It is a small wonder we scored on two nice drives in the first half with the poorest play from Tajh since the Spring game. He was clearly not right mentally and wasn't reading coverages. He was locking in on receivers without seeing all the defenders around them. Wake Forest could've had over 5 INTs today but only got the 2 he threw right at them. After the last pick, I noticed The Chad decided to make him take bubble screens and hit the safety valves underneath (which was open all day) along with the TE. That got him into the rhythm we needed to win it. Tajh wanted to hit the big play early, and when you underthrow balls and throw into areas without thinking, it gets ugly fast.
Clemson's OL play on the run was again horrid. Wakes line averages about 260lbs and we could not get to the 2nd level without pulling someone around on a sweep. McClain sucked, as usual, but Freeman did not have a good game either. There was a clear emphasis by the staff to get the run going, and again we can't get anything on the inside zone against a small line. We couldnt even move them for one inch.
Defensively, I saw we came out with youngsters on the field and they couldn't do more than slow WF down. The gameplan appeared to be to confuse WF with multiple looks up front. However, when its clear that no one up front has the intensity needed to generate a pass rush, and no one behind them plays like they have a clue where they should be, you get dinked and dunked all the way down the field. We were being held up front all day, several of them blatant holds, and got no calls whatsoever. I make it a point to not complain about Refs, but it was severe. Even so, guys like Branch should be able to speed rush right by a Wake lineman, and couldn't do it. Linebacker play was particularly bad again. The adjustment to play more Press was a good one, but too many got a free release inside when guys forgot that you must JAM a receiver when you're in Press 2 or C1.
Then when the crowd got into it and we had a chance to win, the defense woke up and got the stops we needed to get pretty quickly. The offense converted and came back, which is a sign of a good team. A loss here would've been unforgivable and it took a strong performance from everyone at the end to win it, and it didnt hurt that WF's kicker choked. However, we've come out flat for 2 games and it cannot keep happening if this team is to reach the next 2 goals: pounding SC and winning the ACC.